Rideshare and delivery drivers hustle to make money, but it can come at a cost – and it could be their lives. For most on-demand drivers, the person or people they are picking up, or the address they are delivering to, are unknowns. They don’t know if that person has a criminal history that could put their lives in jeopardy or if the situation they are about to drive into for that food delivery is safe.
But they do it anyway. And for some, these situations are real. The headlines tell the stories:
‘Please, I have a son’: Uber driver robbed at gunpoint, car and green card stolen
Cincinnati man charged with racial abuse of Uber driver, whom he threatened with slurs and violence
Man arrested in armed robbery, assault of Lyft driver
Lyft driver survives after his car was shot at a dozen times
The Chicago division of the Independent Drivers Guild has started a petition to demand what it calls “common-sense improvements” to protect drivers and passengers. These include passenger verification, mandatory passenger profile photos, credit card fraud verification, passenger background checks and special crime victim insurance, and in-vehicle cameras among other changes.
In lieu of this, though, drivers and passengers do have some options that can help protect them. They may not stop a crime from happening, but they do provide an added layer of protection to summon help when needed. And it comes courtesy of security firm ADT (NYSE: ADT).
Known primarily for its home security systems, ADT offers Lyft drivers a special in-app security button and for those non-Lyft drivers and passengers, there is an app called SoSecure. Both apps are free.
“We didn’t, as a security company, envision these types of scenarios of strangers you are meeting for the first time. … That security scenario didn’t even exist years ago,” Leah Page, vice president of mobile security and strategic projects at ADT, told Modern Shipper. “The mission was to create a platform that made it really easy for our partners to integrate.”
The Lyft safety feature, called Safe by ADT, allows Lyft drivers to discreetly contact an ADT professional monitoring agent any time they feel unsafe or need emergency assistance. Once contacted, the ADT agent is then able to access critical data from the Lyft app and can contact the appropriate safety personnel, summoning police, fire or rescue as needed.
“It allows us as ADT to do what we do best,” Page said, noting that the rich dataset ADT receives – and receives only once the driver swipes the button – allows it to determine what action needs to take place next. That could be calling police or simply monitoring the movements of the vehicle.
Safe by ADT is available for both Lyft drivers and riders, and Page said integrations with more companies should be forthcoming.
“It’s a very, very low rate of actual dangerous events that happen if you think about it in aggregate,” she said, “but when it does happen, it’s great to know that there is a service available from ADT.”
When an ADT agent receives a notification, the company will attempt to reach the driver to determine the next course of action. If the driver answers the call and says yes, or does not answer the call, ADT will dispatch police to the vehicle’s location. The driver could also say no and no help is sent. Riders are able to communicate with the agent via text message.
“Lyft has been an amazing partner,” Page said. “They really care about safety, but they also care about mitigating false alarms. That’s also really important to ADT because we don’t want to be sending along false alarms to 911 stations.”
Those who don’t drive for other services, or anyone who may use a rideshare service as a passenger, also have access to a safety app called SoSecure. Also available for free through ADT, SoSecure provides a similar service via SOS slider and SOS chat features. Monthly paid plans add additional features, including tracking, voice activation and video monitoring.
“We’re created this really ground up – thinking we wanted something that was easy for our partners to integrate,” Page said. “At ADT we’re known for monitoring services. This allows us to go beyond the home.”
Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight.
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